Access to marketing resources is often one of your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur and small business. The resources, tools, and personnel needed to succeed in marketing are not always accessible to you.
As such, poor marketing is one of the top reasons your small or growing businesses could fail. With such a dire need for effective marketing, it’s a wonder and a shame how much small businesses ignore free marketing resources.
You could be guilty of this yourself. Often, the reason for this oversight is a lack of knowledge or a perceived lack of effectiveness.
On the latter, it’s easy to understand why you’d think free marketing won’t work. After all, you are used to seeing the companies with the biggest budgets make it.
But we are here to tell you you can get started with your small business marketing for free. And it works. We are a testament to that.
We’ve used a lot of the strategies mentioned here and we’ve gotten amazing results from them. Some of our biggest clients, a good example being TMI Irrigation and Water Management Solutions whom we got via our Mailchimp partnership, were acquired via free channels.
And we can guarantee with a few resources, a bit of reading up, and some learning and upskilling, you can do the same. On the former, this article and its second part will educate you on everything you need to know about free marketing.
They are by no means the only free resources on the topic, so get reading. That being said, let’s dive into how you can get started with your small business marketing for free.
Market your business on social media
Social media marketing is a game changer for small businesses. Some have even called it the great equalizer; it’s that great. As such, it’s a shame that so many small businesses underutilise or don’t use it at all.
With an audience of 4.62 billion users, this is a great missed opportunity. In addition to great reach, social media offers the added advantage of ease of use.
Unlike channels like email marketing and search engine optimization, social media is likely already a part of your daily life.
All you need is a little upskilling but you are likely already there. So social media marketing would be a good starting point on this list.
Firstly, identify the social media channels that would best suit your business goals. Next, it’s a good idea to identify some goals you want to achieve with your social media marketing.
It’s important to remember that social media can achieve a lot for your business, more than just marketing and sales. It is, for example, a great support platform for small businesses that can’t afford a dedicated support app.
At this point, it’s important to pick a good social media management tool. Buffer is a good example. Go for something easy to use with free options.
All that’s left is to create diverse, on-brand and engaging content for your channels consistently and watch your brand grow.
Don’t forget to engage your audience when they engage with your content. Nothing will lose you your social followers and potential clients faster than leaving them hanging.
Three things to remember when marketing your business on social media;
- You have limited resources, allocate them to the channels and efforts that drive you the most results.
- It’s always quality over quantity, so always prioritise putting out content that will resonate with your audience.
- Learn to be an analytics ninja. Your social media marketing will work if you can identify what works and put more effort there. You can only identify what works with analytics.
Market your business with email
Email marketing is one of the most underused channels in marketing, so it’s no surprise how little small businesses use it.
That’s a loss because a very strong argument can be made for email marketing having the best rate of return for any digital marketing channel.
Measured in pure Rands, it’s estimated to be around 360% to 400%. That’s a whopping R36.00 to R40.00 for every Rand spent on the channel. Mind-blowing returns.
Perhaps the reason why email marketing is so underused is because of how little it’s understood.
Firstly – a lot of “not” email marketing gets passed off as email marketing. Pasting a bunch of email addresses from a spreadsheet into the cc’d field of your email client and sending mass unsolicited emails is not email marting.
This type of “email marketing” often does more harm than good. Like most digital marketing, email marketing requires the right tools, structure, copywriting, design, analytics, testing and much more. That’s how to get your email marketing to produce good results.
Secondly – entrepreneurs assume doing email marketing the proper way is difficult and impossible. The truth is, with a little investment in your own education, you can get the basics down pretty easily.
It’s no walk in the park, but it can be achieved. When all else fails, you can always invest in some training from an email marketing consultant like Mut-Con.
Thirdly – entrepreneurs assume email marketing is very expensive. Compared to a lot of other digital marketing channels, email marketing is quite affordable. For starters, email marketing is quite effective, making the cost per result very low.
Even holding constant its return on investment though, email marketing is still very affordable. Considering the amount of time it takes for cheaper channels like SEO to deliver returns, email marketing wins out.
Given that channels like Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads that deliver results quickly have you paying per click, email marketing wins out. Finally, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Omnisend have great free channels to help you get started. This adds to the affordability of email marketing as a channel.
Simply put, we love email marketing for small businesses. It can help you achieve a lot of goals beyond just making sales. Additionally, it’s a great compliment for all your other digital marketing channels. You should get started on it right away. If our argument is not convincing enough, we’ll throw in a free consultation to help get you started the right way.
Always be on the lookout for free PR
Some good PR could be great for your business. After you invest in building your brand, it doesn’t hurt to make sure the public has a great view and opinion of your business.
This doesn’t always immediately translate into sales, but it will definitely influence decisions and conversions in the future. Unfortunately, PR isn’t exactly cheap.
For many small businesses, this may be one marketing channel beyond their reach. But smart entrepreneurs can leverage opportunities for free PR.
An avenue we love at Mut-Con is giving to charitable causes around our communities. Charities often love to showcase their valued sponsors and that amounts to some great PR.
A lot of businesses and individuals love dealing with companies with a cause. Because of this, we’ve even coined the term profitable charity.
But this is by no means the only way to score free PR. Just go with the option easiest because, like everything free, even free PR requires some effort.
Build a memorable brand
Creating a brand that demonstrates value is a must and not a luxury for small businesses. The modern marketing landscape is very noisy. Your target audience is bombarded with marketing messages from every corner.
Marketing efforts are no longer limited to billboards, tv, radio, and newsprint, marketing channels that can easily be ignored by their target audience.
Nowadays, websites, SMS, email, and telephones, in addition to traditional avenues and more are filled with adverts.
Even worse, they are filled with ads of businesses with much larger budgets to compete with. As such, the best you can do for your business is to build a strong brand. A brand that resonates.
Make your marketing stand out and make your marketing wanted. The best marketing strategy is one that can compete with big brands on smaller budgets and with less effort.
Make brand building the core of your marketing. Your voice, tone, and all your brand elements should leave their mark every time you put a message out.
Your logo and brand colours alone should elicit the emotions you want from your audience. An exceptional brand is the best investment you can make for your small business, so spare no effort.
Build a WhatsApp catalogue
Since its inception, WhatsApp has shot up to be the preferred instant messaging/ chat social media platform. With 2.2 billion users, people just love WhatsApp.
It’s likely WhatsApp is their preferred chat channel when engaging with your business as well. That’s what makes WhatsApp Business such a revelation.
With a host of tools like chatbots, eCommerce, instant replies, business profiles, and contact details, the platform can transform your business.
But the best of these tools is the WhatsApp catalogue. This is an amazing tool to help your business sell more.
Not only can you showcase your products, but you can also drive sales directly from the catalogue.
It extends the use of WhatsApp from just creating conversations to driving conversions. A WhatsApp catalogue is super simple to set up, so get started with this additional sales and marketing channel for your business right away.
Build a free analytics stack
Analytics is the new frontier for businesses. It is the new true advantage in the world of business. Businesses that learn to apply it well become industry leaders.
Because of this, a good analytics strategy can help your small business stand out in the face of fierce competition.
And, unlike advantages of the past that were reserved for big businesses, analytics is an advantage that’s available for businesses of every size.
Businesses, big or small, naturally collect data in their operations so large businesses can’t impose a monopoly on valuable data.
While analytics works wonders across your whole business, it shines brightest in marketing. So start building your marketing analytics stack today to supercharge your growth.
Start utilizing tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, Google Search Console, and more to adopt data-informed decisions and drive results in your business.
Additionally, improve your analytics skills and knowledge. Analytics is a foundation of great business management, and the easiest path to start learning is digital analytics.
Like many analytics tools, a lot of analytics learning resources are free. Be sure to take advantage of them today.
To help you get started on this free path, you can book a free analytics consultation with Mut-Con. Together we can help you craft a strategy to gain the right skills to kill it in the data game.
Talk to your target audience
The good news is it’s not that tough. Free tools like survey monkey can help you adopt your customers’ voices in all your marketing efforts.
You don’t even need to be a research guru to get started. Even on a free account, Survey Monkey has templates for most kinds of customer research you may want to conduct.
So start talking to your clients right away. This is an opportunity to reach out to your market the way they want to be marketed to.
Not sure which social media channel will work best? Struggling to understand when you are getting the most traffic to your website? Not sure if your website works for your clients? Need help tweak your message? Just ask and get answers from the most reliable source!
Additionally, research and testing are great exercises for your brand building. The easiest way to build a brand that resonates with your market is to learn from them what they value most in a brand.
Once you have this feedback, apply it to every area of your business and in no time you will have achieved the brand loyalty enjoyed by some of the biggest and oldest brands around.
So get started marketing for free right away
With marketing being one of the biggest cost centres for businesses, being able to get started with your small business marketing free is an absolute game changer.
Not only will it allow you to stretch your limited funds a little further, but it may also be the difference between success and failure.
As such, you really don’t have any excuse not to start working through this list right away. Also, remember that it’s not social media or email marketing, it’s social media marketing and email marketing.
Each channel carries its own advantages. The best strategy is one that invests in as much as you can on this list. So get started with all these free resources. Don’t forget to read part two on this topic.
And speaking of free resources, don’t forget we have posts on free resources to use throughout your business. We have compiled version one and version two of the list as well as learning and blog resources!